Jeremy Miles, Minister for Education and Welsh Language
I would like to update members on the latest developments around RSE in the new curriculum.
Last week, the Court of Appeal refused the Claimants permission to appeal the judgment in the High Court last year which dismissed their claims about the RSE Code and guidance on all grounds.
The Rt. Hon. Lord Justice Males in the Court of Appeal said:
“The applicants' various challenges to the Code and the Guidance all proceed on the basis that these documents mandate the teaching and promotion of particular sexual lifestyles in ways which amount to indoctrination. As the respondents point out, however, the fundamental difficulty with these challenges is that the Code and Guidance do no such thing.”
With regards to how the Code and Guidance approached issues relating to different sexualities, gender identification and the respectful treatment of LGBTQ+ people, the Rt. Hon. Lord Justice Males said:
“It is inconceivable that such teaching could be contrary to the common law or the Human Rights Act. On the contrary, diversity and inclusion (including as to the LGBTQ+ community) are fundamental values of British (including Welsh) society.”
This is an important vindication of the approach taken by the Welsh Government to RSE. That approach is intended to keep children safe and to promote healthy, respectful relationships. Schools are legally required to ensure that learning is developmentally appropriate; to provide information on RSE which includes a range of views on the subject and which does not seek to promote one view over another.
To support this, officials are currently working closely with teaching practitioners and healthy schools co-ordinators to review the resources available on Hwb to ensure that these are developmentally appropriate and suitable for use in a balanced approach and in a way that does not promote one view over another. This means, schools will have access to resources that they and parents can be confident and assured are appropriate. Key resources will be signposted in the new Curriculum for Wales area on Hwb this term, with additional resources being added in the Autumn. We are also working closely with other partners to ensure their approaches are consistent with these principles.
I have consistently encouraged schools to take their time to ensure they engage with parents and carers closely. As the academic year has progressed, there are some very positive approaches emerging which have involved parents and carers and given clarity about what will be taught and when and which resources will be used. This transparency, along with a constructive, open dialogue where issues are raised is critical to securing the confidence of parents and carers.